Gábor Tőrös

The surprising present of the Kolozsvári brothers, Márton and György - the touch of the early Renaissance smuggled into Gothic Europe - is revived, explained and verified in 20th century Hungarian sculpture from Transylvania. The distinction of 20th century Transylvanian art among the other sculptural cultures of smaller and bigger European nations is undoubtedly due to the especially high level and the versatility of sculptural formation.
To this (by its demand of commissions, function and material) most expensive form of art, sculpture, no chance of individual prosperity was given in the circumstances of having to defend national identity as a frontier fortress. A peculiar intensity of latent creative energies is proved, however, by the fact that after 1918, under the Romanian state, as a realization of the dreamed Neo-Transylvanianism, a theory merging spirit and thought, there has come a constellation of the necessary potentials and attractions - geographical characteristics inspiring plasticity (geographical, tectonic versatility as an inspiration for formal beauty), the multitude of raw materials for sculpture (stone, wood, clay and metal); the respect for the material accumulated through past centuries; the reserved taciturn nature of Transylvanians, their effort to establish equilibrium in the spirit of serenity and the unparallelled contemporary experience of the immense pressure of the last decades: a matter of life and death in spiritual, physical and ethnic sense - and under this sinister constellation the range of modern Hungarian sculpture from Transylvania was born, or rather, "folded".
Gábor Tőrös is a personality determining the stylistic trend of metal sculpture which started between the two World Wars with the Expressionist small sculpture of Nándor Gallasz of Temesvár and in the late 50s came to be connected with the second wave of the Avantgarde through the oeuvre of Péter Balogh. From the beginning Tőrös has been seeking for his "Ur-Form" following the trace of the great, modern, non-descriptive, figural sculptors (Archipenko, Zadkine, Moore etc.) having realized at the first steps in the style of carved statues in the manner of Szervátiusz and Vida that it was not his way. In the period of transition (1968-1972) even the nature of the media he tried (chamotte, concrete, aluminium) suggested a preference for a stressedly vertical proliferation of form (C.f.: Energy, Time, Icarus, Totemistic Figure etc.). In the first series in the name of a certain cool figurativity he sacrificed anthropomorphous elements for the sake of the Constructivistic treatment of the medium and for the evolution of form.
In the early 70s he changed over to bronze, and although there has always been a tradition among Transylvanian artists to have their own metal foundry, Tőrös - with the help of his metallurgical engineer-friends, has managed to establish a workshop for high precision metal casting by lost wax process. He started his emotional and inventive quest - a journey through hell - from The Rock of Anticipation (from the series "Dante", 1974) but through the Infernal visions of The Friar in Leaden Habit, The Tyrant, Walking Figure I-II, Carnival etc. he soon arrived at the factural beauty and conscious torture of Vortex (I-II-III, bronze and wax, 1980-1981) since when the artist learns all of the technique, the material and the mass the secret - of the nature of the Big Bang, the ancient force hidden behind the things and connections - is becoming an even more tormenting reality. The spiritual, intellectual and physical trials of the 1970s and 80s (while he was constantly watched and harassed by the Securitate) are reflected in the form of recurring dramas of creation, in the liquated, folded and pierced meteorite splinters of the Prophet, Mourning, The Robe, Big Figure with Mantle and Fool's Cap Worn as a Crown, Solitude, Memento and The Moment of Hijacking. The sculptor judges on behalf and suffers instead of his contemporaries like a demiurge and Prometheus.
It is hardly accidental thus that he cannot escape Madách's play, characters and the validity of The Tragedy of Man and keeps on returning to the topic an a Leitmotif, but in his paraphrases he always includes the Tragedy in its totality (the complete reconstruction of human history after Madách and the reverse process of regression, of the withering human relations and values). It was himself who maintained the last time we met in his Nagybánya studio, "I think that the Big Bang is my basic experience"; and indeed, he has been trying to sense the meaning and the transfigurations of this Big Bang. In his heroes (for even non-anthropomorphous forms are to be interpreted as such in Tőrös's art) the "ur-state" is recalled in which - at least in principle - everything is possible: even eternal beauty, nobility and ideal; yet in the elementary zeal of artistic creation forms are always flowing over and in his creatures we find no noble, ideal or harmonious tranquillity but the unexpected, cathartic finalization of the tragic formal transitions between existence and non-existence, creation and destruction, form and formlessness. His bronze figures stepping out of an Apocalyptic vortex of forms seem to be survivors of a Pompeian catastrophy surviving only because their own human zeal, the zeal of their faith has been stronger and hotter than the lava flows which they have waded through and it is just their majestically fractured character which cries unto heaven for the lack of perfection.

Zoltán Banner

Tőrös Gábor: Tamási Áron
Tőrös Gábor: Nagy László